Spark Trader Limited

Making the Most of Your Edtech Toolbox

Spark Trader Limited Reports:

If you are a school or district leader, you are probably familiar with technical licensing. Schools and districts provide technology licenses that give administrators, faculty and staff a set of tools to use on campus. Technology licenses can help unlock a variety of tools and resources, but only if faculty members know if those licenses exist and how they can help transform learning. Examples include Microsoft 365, G Suite, Pear Deck, NewsELA, and WeVideo.

Knowledge and information about available technology licenses significantly reduces the time spent searching for technical tools that can help improve academic guidance, employee professional development, and overall productivity. However, if everyone does not know what licenses are available, they may still not be used. To ensure that you, your teachers and your staff are taking full advantage of available resources, here are some ways you can make the most of technology licensing in your school or district.

Find out what’s in your school or district’s educational technology toolbox
Because you are an education leader, it is important to consider what tools are already available in your school or district and whether your faculty and staff know they are available. Technology licenses or platforms may be located on a central website (for example, Clever) or through a single login at your school or district. This is common for sites or platforms that might say, “Log in with Google,” “Log in with Microsoft,” or “Log in with credentials.”

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2. Investigate the licensing of technology tools educators are using
Once you have identified the technical tools, the next step is to determine whether your faculty and staff are actually using them. For example, if a school website uses both G Suite and Microsoft 365, it can be challenging not only financially but technically if faculty and staff don’t use the same tools. Here are some questions to ask as you survey what technology licenses educators are using:

What tools do you currently use in your school/district? (The content available on your district server is not necessarily the content you use as a faculty member.)
How are these tools used, and how often do you use them? Do you use this technology daily, weekly, or monthly?
3. Survey what technology tools educators think are effective
This is the most important aspect of the investigation. Once a technology license is purchased, it is important to work with your faculty and staff to see what is working and what is not. Do you have a plan to communicate with educators about what they’re using? If not, figure out how to get started. Key issues include:

How accessible is the tool? (That is, can you use this tool easily?)
Does this tool reduce your workload? (For example, does it make it easier for you to collaborate with colleagues; Communicate with students, staff and families; Complete your daily tasks?)
What has this tool done for you to make it possible for you to continue using it?
Once you have completed your initial work, you can move on to understanding how available technology licenses can positively impact your school community, faculty, and staff.

4. Take the time to train teachers on the tools available
Whether it’s during staff professional development, informal staff meetings, or meetings where your faculty and staff adapt to technology, the time educators spend learning about the technology tools available is critical. First, find “tech teacher leaders” who already use these tools to train faculty on how to use them.

Depending on your school environment, there may be teachers and staff who are already using these permits and can provide on-site for their colleagues. In addition, you can obtain free tool training through the Tech Tool website or customer service. Many educational technology companies offer this type of help. You can also track how many educators use the tool after training, and how many educators consider the tool effective after training.